Answered By: Kate Wimer
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2022     Views: 5384

Compass is what's known as a discovery tool - it's not quite an online catalog nor a database, but it can return results from both our library holdings (like a catalog), and from the vast majority of our databases.

From the library's homepage, there are different ways to begin your searches of University of Denver resources depending on the nature of the item(s) that you wish to find. Before executing a search, choose carefully from the Compass drop-down menu among the options that appear: Search All, Catalog, Articles+, and Course Reserves. An explanation of these options appears below.

Compass search box with the search options drop-down menu open.

Search All:

  • All items in the Catalog (see below).
  • All items in Articles + (see below).
  • This is the broadest search possible using your University of Denver resources and the default search option. It's a good place to get your feet wet, but it may be inefficient for more targeted searching. There's a lot of stuff in here!


  • The physical and electronic resources owned or leased by the University of Denver. For example:
    • Books and e-books
    • Journals
    • Databases
    • Archival Material
    • DVDs
    • Musical Scores
  • It is important to note that the Catalog search will not search within journals and databases, but will look for publication titles. So you can search for "The Journal of Social Psychology" here, but shouldn't look for "university gender roles". If you want to search within databases or journals, try using the Articles+ tab, or opening the database or journal itself.


  • Electronic Content owned or leased by the University of Denver. For example:
    • Journal Articles
    • E-Books
  • Additional resources shared amongst other libraries also using our new system.

Course Reserves:  

  • Physical items that have been set aside for a specific class.

Need something more specific?

  1. Try running a regular search and then using the limiters along the right side of the screen to narrow down your search.
  2. Alternatively, you could begin from a Compass Advanced Search, selecting first from the four search options explained above and selecting second by "Material Type."

Compass Advanced search

Please contact the Research Center if you have any questions!